The new obesity

A growing number of people are unable to shed those extra pounds despite strict diet regimes and long hours of workout. Evidence shows that the toxins in the environment could be playing the spoilsport. They modify the body’s physiology and make it difficult to lose weight. While the West is waking up to the complex linkages between chemicals and obesity, realisation is yet to dawn on doctors and researchers in India. Vibha Varshney, Dinsa Sachan and Sonal Matharu report on the new trigger for obesity and the way out

 
By Vibha Varshney, Dinsa Sachan, Sonal Matharu
Last Updated: Sunday 07 June 2015 | 21:11:47 PM

The new obesity

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Obesity has just slipped out of the grasp of mathematical logic: if one burns as many calories as one consumes, one will not gain weight. Today it is easy to spot people in jogging parks, aerobic centres and gymnasiums who defy this logic. Take Sundar Rao of Mumbai who weighs 89 kg. He has been trying hard to shed the extra pounds for the past 15 years. A 53-year-old chartered accountant, he religiously takes out an hour from his busy schedule for exercising and has tried all possible diet regimes he could dig out of the massive literature and studies done on weight loss. Rao has cut down on carbohydrates, increased protein intake and reduced the amount of fat he consumes. Eating out is curtailed, fruits have been added to the plate and packaged foods kicked out, but to no avail. For his height of 170 centimetres, he is 19 kg overweight; worse, he continues to gain weight.

imageForty-year-old Sapna Vashista of Delhi has a similar problem. For the past six years, she has maintained a strict diet regime. One hour of yoga or aerobics and evening walks are part of her daily routine. A part-time fashion designer and mother of two, she does most of the housework. Still her weight does not dip below 72 kg. For her height of 165 centimetres, Vashista should not weigh more than 63 kg.

Both Vashista and Rao share the fate of many people who even after hours of slogging on the treadmill and giving a miss to their favourite food are unable to shed those extra pounds. The World Health Statistics released in May by WHO also points to the growing trouble. It shows obesity has doubled across the world between 1980 and 2008. Health experts say overeating and junk food are the biggest reasons behind the rise in obesity world over, but they cannot explain why some people are unable to lose weight when they control these habits.

   
  Obesogens are all around us, in plastic bottles, carpets, cookware and paper money. Exposure to them is unavoidable  
 
 
Moreover, food could hardly be blamed for the increase in weight of babies below six months. Data from a research by Harvard Medical School shows the percentage of overweight infants has nearly doubled from 3.4 to 5.9 between 1980 and 2001 in the US.

Baffled researchers who set out to find the reasons say the toxins in the environment, microbes and rise in temperature also play a role in making people fat. Specifically, exposure to certain toxins, such as pesticides, emissions from vehicles and the material that the plastic bottle is made of, can lead to weight gain. Epidemiological studies suggest everyone, including those not yet born, are at risk. Most such studies have been done in the US.

For instance, a study in the US on pregnant women in New York City showed that women exposed to higher concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, from vehicular and industrial exhaust and smoke from cigarettes, were more than twice as likely to have children who were obese by the age of seven. The study was conducted by researchers from Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

HISTORY OF OBESOGENS
 
Paula Baillie-Hamilton, a doctor in the UK, was having a hard time losing weight after pregnancy. Looking for ways to lose fat, she chanced upon an article on how pesticides were playing havoc with animals by inducing hormonal changes in them. It was a eureka moment. She wondered whether hormonal changes due to chemicals in the environment could be playing a role in her inability to shed pounds. A three-year-long research unearthed enough evidence.

There were studies as far back as in the 1970s to show that low-dose chemical exposures were associated with weight gain in animals. She published the results in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2002. The paper was noticed by many researchers who had observed similar phenomenon in their lab animals. They initiated studies to observe the effect of the toxins on body’s metabolism. Retha Newbold of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in the US tested Diethylstilbestrol (DES), used in drugs, on mice.

They were treated with 0.001 mg/kg of DES and their weight was measured after four months. While the treated mice had average weight of 40.3 grams, those not exposed weighed 30.7 grams. By 2007, the evidence was so clear that a University of California scientist, Bruce Blumberg, gave these chemicals a name—obesogens.

“There are currently about 20 chemicals that have been shown to stimulate weight gain in rodents,” says Jerrold J Heindel, programme administrator at NIEHS. These chemicals are everywhere—soft drink cans, carpets to paper money. Exposure to them is unavoidable.


The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the US shows similar results. When children between six and 19 years of age were tested for the presence of pesticide 2,5-dichlorophenol—commonly used in moth balls, and room and toilet deodorisers, and previously used as an insecticidal fumigant—it was found that obesity was directly proportional to the levels of the chemical in the blood. The study was published in Reviews on Environmental Health in 2011. Adults with higher levels of Bisphenol A (BPA)—commonly used in plastic bottles—were also found to be more prone to general and abdominal obesity by researchers of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. Till date, about 20 chemicals have been nailed for inducing weight gaining tendencies and many more may soon make it to the list. Based on their effect, the chemicals have been christened obesogens (see ‘History of obesogens’).

This does not mean diet regimes and treadmill are redundant. Whether obesogen exposure causes permanent changes in the body leading to obesity is currently under study in laboratories across the world, developmental biologist Bruce Blumberg says. Epidemiological studies give only indications. Direct studies are available only on animals. In his lab in the University of California, Irvine, US, Blumberg is analysing the obesogenic impact of a chemical, tributyltin (TBT), on mice. TBT is a biocide that is used in paints in ships to prevent the growth of algae on the hulls. It has now been banned because it leaches into the sea and affects marine life. Blumberg says, “Prenatal exposure to TBT produces irreversible effects in mice.” They get fatter despite a normal diet because TBT alters their metabolism. “So if you were exposed at a sensitive time during your life such that you have more, larger fat cells and stem cells that are predisposed to become fat cells, you will have to fight a lifelong battle against weight gain.”

Obesogens in action



Exposure to obesogens at any age can lead to obesity, but foetuses and young children have been found to be the most vulnerable. The chemicals enter the developing foetus through the mother’s blood and cause modifications in the expression of genes. These are called epigenetic changes and lead to “foetal programming”. For example, under the influence of the toxins the stem cells may be programmed to make fat cells instead of bone cells, predisposing the unborn child to be plump. A study published in the May issue of PNAS found that epigenetic changes caused by a fungicide, vinclozolin, can be passed on to as many as three generations.

imageIn children and adults, however, the obesogenic effect of chemicals manifests as changes in metabolism through regulation of hormones. For instance, the chemicals affect the functioning of the thyroid gland, which controls metabolism. This lowers the metabolic rate and the body burns fewer calories. Other hormones affected by obesogens are leptin that regulates the feeling of satiety and resistin that reduces insulin sensitivity and leads to type 2 diabetes. These hormones are produced by the adipose tissue which till recently was believed to be just a storage space for fat. Studies have found that this tissue too has become a target of obesogens such as the fungicide, tolylfluanid. It increases the formation of fat cells and reduces leptin secretion and results in higher food intake. Another chemical, tributyltin chloride affects production of fat cells by controlling a receptor protein on the nucleus of the stem cells called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ). It stimulates the receptor and predisposes stem cells to become fat cells.

The WHO’s health statistics reveal that women are more likely to be obese than men. This was established by a study published in the May issue of Environmental Health Perspectives where the researchers studied 665 Danish women who reported pregnancy in the late 1980s. The levels of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA)—a chemical used to make non-stick cookware—were measured in their blood. The researchers analysed Body Mass Index (BMI), an indicator of body fat, of their offspring 20 years later in 2009. They found daughters of women, who had about 6 nanogram/millilitre (ng/ml) of PFOA in their serum, had on average 1.6 kg/m2 higher BMI compared to daughters of women who had about 2 ng/ml of the chemical in their blood. They did not find the BMI difference in male offspring.

   
  The chemicals can cause metabolic and epigenetic changes even at low doses  
 
 
Researchers say the reason behind women being more susceptible could be that they have more fat deposits in the body. This makes them more vulnerable to the fat-soluble environmental toxins. Women have 25-31 per cent body fat, while men have 18-25 per cent, according to American Council on Exercise.

What is more worrisome is the fact that the obesogenic effect of the chemicals is evident even at very low doses. The same chemical at high doses becomes toxic and leads to weight loss. The obesogens do not follow the long held principle of toxicology which suggests that chemicals follow a linear curve—the larger the amount of the chemical, the more the effect on people. In case of obesogens lower doses can have more effect. This means regulators are unlikely to set appropriate safe limits for chemicals since they test them taking into consideration their linear pathway.

Frederick S vom Saal, professor at the University of Missouri in the US, who has done pioneering work on BPA, including analysing its association with obesity, says that most of the studies show that the human body carries between 0.5 and 4 ng/ml (parts per billion) of BPA in the serum. This range can be harmful, he says. The chemical can mimic estradiol and cause breast cancer even at amounts below one part per trillion, 1,000 times lower than found in the human body, he explains.

Chemicals blacklist



Research on obesogens is still in its infancy. Scientists are looking at all kinds of chemicals with suspicion. A decade of research has identified about 20 chemicals present in the environment as obesogens. A look at some of the chemicals and how they make one fat

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Ignorance isn’t bliss



There is no escaping the ubiquitous obesogens but their effects can be reduced in two ways. One, by understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of obesogens and then controlling their action. Two, by curbing their release into the environment. But far from taking any action, India remains oblivious to the very presence of obesogens. Even obesity does not receive due attention.

imageIndia does not have an estimate of the number of people who are overweight or obese, while considerable research is being carried out across the world to understand the obesity mechanism. There are only a few independent indicative studies in India. A study by National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Diseases Foundation, a non-profit in New Delhi, shows that prevalence of obesity among adolescent youth between 14 and 17 years of age in the state increased from 9.8 per cent in 2006 to 11.7 per cent in 2009. During this period, the chances of a person being underweight decreased from 11.3 per cent to 3.9 per cent.

An Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) survey on risk factors for non-communicable diseases in 2011 also suggests that the problem is increasing. Among the seven states studied, more overweight and obese people were seen in urban areas than in rural areas. Kerala had the highest numbers of both overweight and obese people—more than 25 per cent of the population was overweight there (see ‘Obesity burden’).

Yet obesogens have not even caught the attention of researchers and doctors in the country. Most researches still focus on diet-related aspects of obesity. To find out if research on obesogens is being undertaken, Down To Earth, contacted premier institutes of the country, including the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, Annamalai University in Chennai and University of Calcutta. It drew a blank.

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Researchers at medical colleges, such as the Christian Medical College at Vellore and All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, were also contacted. Many doctors had not even heard the word obesogen. “This concept of obesogens is fairly new,” says Surender Kumar, chairperson of the department of endocrinology and metabolism at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. He is one of the few doctors aware of the new science.

The subject has not attracted the attention of either the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the organisation that controls all basic and applied research in the country, or ICMR, the premier government body that governs medical research in the country, similar to the National Institute of Health in the US. “We should not ape the West. Instead, we should come up with our own ideas for studies. Whatever is happening in the US may not be relevant to India,” V M Katoch, director general of ICMR, says.

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Meanwhile, Prashant Mathur, scientist with the non-communicable diseases division at ICMR, points out while the agency has not funded any project on obesogens per se, two studies are analysing changes in animals due to endocrine disruptors. The research under way at the National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health at Mumbai is looking at epigenetic changes in the male rat’s germ line following neonatal exposure to BPA and the chemical’s genotoxic and mutagenic activity. P K Nag, director of the National Institute of Occupational Health at Ahmedabad, an ICMR unit, points out the short-sightedness of such research, “We have been looking at lots of endocrine disruptors, but we have not found any impact on obesity or diabetes. Perhaps we have not looked at these aspects. We do consider this an important topic and will study in the near future.”

DETOX DIET BUSINESS
 
While it may not be popular in India yet, the detox diet industry is big in the West. The diet reduces the amount of toxins in the body which makes it easier for the person to lose weight. But no studies have proven its efficacy. The diet mostly requires avoiding certain types of food like meat and processed food for a time period. The foods are then gradually re-introduced. Some detox diets involve eating herbs to detoxify, while others involve inserting an enema tube into the rectum as water cleans the colon.

Paula Baillie-Hamilton, who proposed the theory of chemicals and weight gain, also has her own weight loss book, The Detox Diet. One of the things she recommends is avoiding foods like lettuce that are heavily laden with pesticides. She also favours eating more organic fruits. Jay Nixon, a certified nutritionist in the US who runs a weight loss company called Nixon Elite, sells a plan called Body Fat Detox system.

The liver's purgatory mechanism is the basis of his detox diet programme. Nixon explains, “All toxins brought into your body have to be processed by liver. Toxic overload and a congested liver make it difficult to lose body fat.” He says, “I have been in the health and fitness industry for close to 20 years. I have been able to determine that even with the best nutrition and fitness plans money can buy, some people cannot lose weight. I call this ‘weight loss resistance’.

I tested the diet theory over the course of several years with clients of all shapes and sizes and it worked every time.” His Body Fat Detox programme is priced at US $279, and includes a food guide, portion guide, recipes, a journal and a workout guide.


The omission is glaring because obesity triggers several non-communicable diseases (NCDS) like heart attack, arthritis, diabetes, hyper- and hypo-thyroidism and cancer. A study in Australia published in the July 2009 issue of Cell Metabolism, for instance, found that fat cells release a protein called pigment epithelium-derived factor, which triggers events that lead to type 2 diabetes. An analysis by Centres for Disease Control in the US shows that a 61 per cent increase in diabetes between 1991 and 2001 coincided with a 74 per cent increase in obesity during the same period, thus suggesting a correlation between the two.

   
  In India, most researches still focus on diet-related weight gain. Obesogens are not on the radar  
 
 

Non-communicable diseases are expensive to treat and developing countries like India are not equipped to tackle them. Even developed countries find it difficult. A recent projection in the US also suggests that 42 per cent of the people in the country are likely to end up obese by 2030. This is a rise of six per cent from 2010. Health economists at Duke University Global Health Institute in the US predict that if the obesity rate stays at the 2010 level instead of rising then the country could save more than $549.5 billion in weight-related medical expenditure from now till 2030. At present, the country spends $147 billion on it.

   
  Indians have more abdominal fat which makes them prone to chronic diseases at a lower BMI between 18.50 and 24.99  
 
 
Although South East Asia seems to be least affected by obesity, according to WHO’s health statistics, there is evidence that the problem is increasing. Experts say that if these regions take immediate steps, the problem of obesity can be contained.

If doctors continue to ignore the role of toxins in obesity and refer patients to strict diet regimes and bariatric surgery (cutting or banding portions of stomach), the problems resulting from obesity-related diseases will increase. “Reports show reducing weight raises levels of obesogens in the serum,” says Hong Kyu Lee of the department of internal medicine, Eulji University School of Medicine, in Korea who has studied the obesogenic effect of atrazine, a herbicide. “This in turn causes a yo-yo phenomenon with increased cardiovascular diseases later in life.”

WEIGHT v BMI
 
At the World Health Assembly this year, the need for developing non-communicable disease indicators, which fit individual country contexts, were discussed. While it is accepted that obesity is a problem, a fool proof method for defining obesity is not available. Usually, the body mass index (BMI), which is the weight in kilogrammes divided by the square of the height in metres, is used. But this method fails to consider abdominal fat in the calculations. Many ethnic populations, including Indians, have a fat distribution pattern in which most of the fat is centred in the middle.

Therefore, while the normal BMI should be between 18.50 and 24.99, for susceptible populations such as Indians, a lower cut off between 18.50 and 22.99 is prescribed by WHO. Recently, a group of researchers from Ashwell Associates, a scientific consultancy firm, proposed that the waist to height ratio (WHtR) is a good indicator of obesity associated risks.

On the basis of a study done on more than 300,000 people, they suggested that the waist should be less than the half of height. The findings were presented at the European Congress of Obesity this year. This method had been proposed by researchers in Japan in 2003 but the study focussed on the Japanese population.

It can solve the problems presented by the currently used method of calculating obesity. However, it will take time to adopt WHtR as the standard for obesity measurement.


Researchers at French National Institute of Health and Medical Research have also proved this effect. They estimated the amounts of persistent organic pollutants (POP) in 71 obese people and compared them with that in 18 lean women. They found that the total POP burden was two to three times higher in obese persons. When these people lost weight through bariatric surgery, the amount of POP in the serum increased. There was evidence of liver toxicity in them. The study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives in March 2011.

Similarly, when researchers from Canada studied two groups of obese individuals who were either following a diet programme or underwent surgery, they found that levels of organochlorine, a component found in common pesticides, increased by 23.8 per cent in their blood compared to the control group, which comprised normal weight individuals who did not undergo any weight loss intervention.

But it is not yet time to press the panic button for those who want to lose weight. “This is a new area where there is very little data that shows weight loss can release POPs from the body’s fat stores. The data is also insufficient to determine the health effects of the released toxins,” says Jerrold J Heindel of National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “It is likely that the health benefits of weight loss will outweigh the toxic effects of the released toxins.”

Toxins smart



Stopping obesogens from being released into the environment is no easy task. Efforts to reduce the use of several of these chemicals in India and elsewhere have met with little success. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), effective from May 2004, has till date mandated phasing out the use of 22 toxic chemicals—including DDT, an insecticide, and dioxins, released by burning plastics, that have obesogenic effects. But DDT continues to be used in anti-malarial sprays, while dioxins continue to be produced.

imageIn many countries, cases have been filed against manufacturers using these chemicals and the government. The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental action group in the US, had petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008 to ban BPA used in baby bottles and beverage packaging. Despite the fact that many manufacturers have phased out the chemical due to consumer demands and countries such as Canada, Japan and China have banned it, FDA, in March 2012, ruled out the need to ban BPA. It said the evidence of harm was available only from animal studies. They also suggested that the risk was little because humans metabolise and eliminate BPA much more quickly than lab animals. Moreover, organisations like American Chemistry Council, which represents 85 per cent of the chemicals manufacturing capacity in the US, have been lobbying with FDA to recognise BPA as a safe product.

In India, very few studies have measured the level of toxins like BPA in humans. One such study led by Kurunthachalam Kannan of the department of environmental health sciences, State University of New York analysed the levels of these chemicals in humans. His team found 2.90 μg/day of BPA in the urine of Indians. This is significantly lower than the tolerable daily intake recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency of 50 μg/kg/day.

   
  Multi-nation OBELIX study kicked off by EU is expected to bring more clarity on obesogens  
 
 
The levels of the toxins are, however, high in air, water and soil. Researchers from Japan collected air samples from cities in India as well as elsewhere. They found that in Mumbai and Chennai the levels of BPA were 10 times higher than in China, Japan and New Zealand. BPA is released into the environment when plastics, electronics and other waste material are burnt and during the manufacturing of products containing it.

An analysis by National Institute of Oceanography in Goa showed that marine fish, shrimps, squids and crabs collected from Mumbai, Goa and Karwar had high concentrations of organotins that affect stem cell differentiation. Another study by the institute earlier in July had found that organotins were high in soil samples from the Sundarbans mangrove wetland and the Hugli river basin.

Is this chemical load harming us? There will be more clarity on the link between obesogens and weight gain once the results of a multi-nation study funded by the European Commission are released sometime in 2013. The OBELIX project (OBesogenic Endocrine disrupting chemicals: LInking prenatal eXposure to the development of obesity later in life). The study was kicked off in May 2009 in Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Slovakia and is investigating six groups of endocrine disrupting chemicals—dioxin-like compounds, non-dioxin-like compounds, organochlorine pesticides, brominated flame retardants, phthalates and perfluorinated compound. The researchers are collecting samples of cord blood and breast milk to estimate the level of chemicals in them and determine their impact on the weight of offspring. Other studies under the project will be on mice and characterise the effects of the chemicals on the body.

Even the US is rising to the challenge. One of the recommendations of the task force set up by its President Barack Obama in 2010 to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation suggests that federal and state agencies should look at the possible role of obesogens in childhood obesity. The March 2011 Strategic plan for National Institute of Health’s Obesity Research suggests that impacts of environmental toxins on obesity be studied.

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Obesogens’ role also needs to be included in the ongoing NCDs debate. At the 2012 World Health Assembly in May in Geneva, countries did say that NCDs should be addressed through a multi-pronged approach but the focus was on food. Discussions also stressed considering the links between social determinants of health—toxins can be one—and NCDs. Reducing exposure to toxins requires efforts at the individual and policy level, says Andrew Rundle, associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University in the US. He gives the example of PAH that is present in both cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust. While individuals can avoid cigarettes, the government can switch buses from diesel to less polluting fuels, he adds.

There are other ways as well. Choosing the right nutrition can be one. Bruce Blumberg, development biologist, says that diets should not have high amounts of storable calories (carbohydrates, for example). “No one is doomed,” quips Blumberg.

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  • Good information.But can we

    Good information.But can we do without or avoid these chemicals ?

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • With so many chemicals around

    With so many chemicals around us, it is difficult to avoid exposure. But everyone can try to minimise exposure by simple lifestyle changes  - giving up smoking, drinking water from plastic bottles, washing vegetables before cooking, not using chemical dditives in food and so on. 


    But it would be help more if there are policies to reduce the use of chemicals - for example, not using pesticides in agriculture, using safer fuel. Care is needed to establish what is "safe". There have been some instances when manufacturers have moved from harmful chemicals to those "considered" safe. For example, manufacturers  moved from bisphenol A to bisphenol S in plastics. But studies show that this chemical is harmful too. There should be a  mechanism put in place to ensure that toxins do not enter the environment without being proved safe.

    Posted by: Vibha Varshney | 2 years ago | Reply
  • Here's another strong reason

    Here's another strong reason I really need to go after those coupons for baby formula. You can never be too sure of the food you're buying in regular stores, I prefer to make an extra effort to support a healthier eating and reduce the risk of obesity in my family.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Well genetics of course plays

    Well genetics of course plays part of it and may be toxins from air could have an effect on weight gain, this reminds me actually of a research i read that the air can make us gain weight from all the acid that comes from the sea.

    But even all this cannot me a huge factor or a simple answer for how we gain weight, because how to gain weight depends basically and in huge percent in what food we eat and the amount of calories on it, and of course some people going to have trouble shedding pounds than other because of not just their metabolism rate but also their inherited genes.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 6 years ago | Reply
  • As an organic vegetarian for

    As an organic vegetarian for over 35 years--and believe me, 35 years ago one could purchase organic fruits, vegetables and beans and rice by joining a collective group that pooled money to get small farmers to grow foods organically--I well understand the difficulties of finding unpolluted food. It changed what my family ate and how we ate. My daughter was already 5 years old, but I had breast fed her until she was almost a year old. She is one of the healthiest people I know, has been since infancy; never runs a fever, gets the flu, cold or other normal illnesses her friends seem to have during cold or flu season. I'm the same way, so it could be genetics. I haven't had a cold or flu, any kind of illness, since 1979 (when I had my tonsils removed). In these times when bottle feeding a baby is considered normal, I suggest breast feeding for at least the first 6 months of your baby's life, or as long as the baby is interested. When my daughter started biting me to see my reaction, I switched her to organic milk. We are all responsible for educating ourselves as to the ingredients in all processed foods and avoiding processed foods as much as possible. People commonly think that organics are more expensive to feed a family, but if you cut out meats and fish, it doesn't have to be prohibitive. You are in control of the ingredients in your soups, stews, sandwiches and occasional desserts. Nothing tastes as delicious as homemade, and a simple dinner of baked organic yams dripping with their own syrup accompanied by organic broccoli or beans takes less than an hour to prepare. Organic baked apples topped with a bit of maple syrup is much better than a store bought cake with a list of ingredients that sounds like a chemical experiment. We should be wary of canned goods, even organic ones, that still use BPA to line cans. Companies want to make a profit, whether store brands or companies like Amy Organics, which still uses BPA-lined cans for its beans, soups and chili. We can all do better. Don't accept plastic bags and don't buy them for home. Waxed paper works just as well. Don't buy air sprays, scented candles for the home, and don't shop at stores that sell products made by slave labor of children and adults. As Jiminy Cricket said, "Let your conscience be your guide." Good words to live by, once we have researched well and developed the conscience necessary to combat the endless propaganda we are barraged with.There's a right and wrong way to live. The right way will lead you to new ideas, new paths to follow, make you stronger and more active. The wrong way will make you unfit, ill and unquestioning and disinterested about life. We are all responsible for the world.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 6 years ago | Reply
  • Hi, am a student researching

    Hi, am a student researching about the growing obesity trend and was redirected here from wikipedia for a list of 20 substances or functional groups classified as obesogen, yet there are only 16. What is up with that?

    Posted by: Anonymous | 6 years ago | Reply
  • We have described only some

    We have described only some of the chemicals in the article. This is a developing field of research and more and more chemicals are being added to the list. For example a January study links tributyltin used in PVC and obesity.

    Posted by: Vibha Varshney | 2 years ago | Reply
  • The aftereffects of these

    The aftereffects of these chemicals in human body has to be seriously considered and its widespread use has to be restricted. Nowadays, a lot of people are suffering from obesity and thereby prone to many serious health hazards. So strict measures has to be adapted in an emergency mode.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
  • This is to be considered in

    This is to be considered in serious! Now people, especially IT professionals depend on fast and readymade foods due to their busy works! These readymade foods are prepared by adding several chemicals which has got several bad effects on our body! People are taking these foods without knowing the dangerous! We should aware them about the bad effects of readymade and fast foods!

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
  • Some very interesting weight

    Some very interesting weight loss stories you mentioned there.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply